Gryffe High School has become the first secondary school in Scotland to receive an ‘excellent’ grade under the government’s short model inspection format.

Gryffe High pupils Lewis Da Silva, Rachael Bell, Lauren Rodgers, Rowan Johnson, Aaron Mills, Gregor Speir and Roisin Wright with head teacher Colin Johnson

A team from Education Scotland visited the Houston school earlier this year to speak to staff, pupils and parents – and today issued a glowing report over the standard of the work they found.

The school was rated as ‘very good’ for learning, teaching and assessment, and as ‘excellent’ for ‘raising attainment and achievement’ – the highest grade on the six-point scale.

That is the first time the top grade has been given out to a secondary school under Education Scotland’s short model inspection format, which judges schools on two quality indicators as opposed to four under the full inspection model.

The inspection team said the following about the school’s work:

– strong and highly effective leadership by the headteacher and senior leadership team;

– highly-skilled analysis of progress and attainment data of all young people’s results, leading to outstanding levels of attainment and achievement;

– aspects of outstanding practice in primary to secondary transition;

– highly-motivated, articulate and ambitious young people who have high aspirations;

The one area of improvement identified was around building on the work already being done to improve the reliability of assessment evidence in S1-3 pupils, to help teachers set tasks and activities at the right level.

The school also had self-evaluation verified as excellent by the council on two other quality indicators – leadership of change, and improving wellbeing, equality and inclusion.

Gryffe High School head teacher Colin Johnson said: “To say I am proud of our pupils and staff is a complete understatement. To be the head teacher of a school where the pupils, day in day out, impress with their enthusiasm, drive and persistence is an absolute pleasure and privilege.

“Even over the very difficult last few months our pupils remained positive, thoughtful and supportive of one another and I have been amazed at the lengths they have gone to in supporting others.

“That has included delivering packs and resources to other pupils houses, and taking additional packs to the local church as a collection point for other pupils.

“Our pupils efforts and achievements are outstanding, supported by dedicated staff, supportive parents/carers and close links with a wide range of external partners.

“I eagerly await the return of our pupils to school this week, and then supporting them as they pick up where we left off – supporting the wellbeing of all, striving for improvement, and keeping their focus as ambitious, but caring, young people with high aspirations.”

Lewis Da Silva, who was last year’s school captain, said: “I’m proud to say I went to Gryffe High – it’s an amazing school. I will miss the learning side and the social side.”

And this year’s school captain Rachael Bell added: “We get great support from teachers and pupils. We have lots of societies and clubs and even if there isn’t one they will help you set it up.”

Councillor Jim Paterson, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Policy Board, added: “We are thrilled by this inspection report on Gryffe High, which shows why the school is considered one of the best-performing in the country.

“That is testament to the hard work and dedication of the pupils, staff and school community to raise attainment for all and I am sure they will all be as delighted as we are by the grading in the report.”